2012 AFL Season Predictions
The 2012 AFL Season begins this weekend - here are my predictions for how it will unfold:
Premiers - Hawthorn
After coming agonisingly close to a grand final berth in 2011, losing by only 3 points to Collingwood in the Preliminary final, Hawthorn look to be the team to beat in 2012.
Alistair Clarkson has the coaching nous and talent at his disposal to lead this group to the flag, which includes the dynamic, game turning ability of Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli, highly skilled, damaging ball use of Luke Hodge and Matt Suckling and toughness inside the contests from Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell.
The addition of Jarryd Roughead who can play as a versatile key position player either forward, in the ruck or down back, will help them tremendously and gives them the extra edge they missed in the finals last year.
Runners-up - Geelong
The Cats proved critics wrong in 2011, winning the premiership when many had written them off as too old and too slow to do so.
They still have the competition's best midfield with Jimmy Bartel, Joel Selwood, James Kelly, Paul Chapman, Joel Corey all rotating through, as well as Matt Scarlett, Corey Enright, Harry Taylor as rocks down back, Steve Johnson and Travis Varcoe providing magic up forward and some emerging talent in Tom Hawkins, Allen Christensen, Trent West and Mitch Duncan.
I expect them to be around the mark again at the end of the year and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they go back to back.
Norm Smith - Sam Mitchell
All finals provide the opportunity for strong contested ball winning players to shine - Mitchell is one of the competitions best and should excel if Hawthorn make the 2012 Grand Final.
5. West Coast
9. North Melbourne
10. St Kilda
14. Western Bulldogs
16. Port Adelaide
17. Gold Coast
18. Greater Western Sydney
Brownlow Medal - Scott Pendlebury
He has been in the top 5 the last two years running and after an impressive 2010, his game continued to improve. Clearly a vote magnet, very durable and at 24 years of age he should be at the peak of his powers this season - as long as Dane Swan doesn't take too many off him, I think this might be his year.
Coleman Medal - Lance Franklin
The reigning Coleman MedalIist, I don't think anyone can stop Buddy at the moment.Even if he misses games through injury or suspension he still would stand the favourite.
AFL Rising Star - Josh Caddy
After enduring a rocky first season where he had a few injury setbacks, Caddy impressed in his debut last season and with another pre-season under his belt, good performances in the NAB Cup, he would be my favourite to take out the award.
Stephen Coniglio, Kane Lucas, John Butcher, Dom Tyson and Dylan Shiel look to be some of his biggest threats.
If I wasn't very complimentary to your team in the ladder positions or didn't select your favourite player to win any awards, don't be concerned, my predictions are typically some way off - this is my 2011 effort for reference:
Enjoy the football season and good luck to your team!